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Andy Murray wins his first title of 2017

March 6, 2017

Andy Murray has his first title of 2017 in the bag after outstanding performances in the semi-final and final saw him secure the Dubai Duty Free Championships.

Having seen off seven match points in a 38-game tie-break against Philipp Kohlschreiber to reach the last four, Murray upped his game to beat Lucas Pouille in straight sets in the semi-final and then found his range to win the final against Fernando Verdasco.

Going into the match with a 12-1 winning record against the Spaniard, Murray was always expected to win, but he was broken in his first two service games as he served up four double faults.

However, having battled back to 3-3 the world number one took control, finding his serve and eventually winning 6-3, 6-2. The title is his first in Dubai and 45th of his career, extending the Scot's lead over Novak Djokovic at the top of the men's rankings to more than 2,000 points. He now has 12,040 compared with 9,825 for Djokovic.

Discussing how he got to the final after his great escape against Kohlschreiber, Murray remarked: "Often when you get through matches like that it settles you down for the rest of the tournament,"  

"It's been quite a few late finishes this week. Maybe the last couple of matches, I didn't start as well as I would like. It's been the same for all the players, a bit tricky with the rain. Once I got going today, I was moving well and I finished strong."

Fans booking corporate hospitality for the Aegon Championships at the Queen's Club may be among those particularly delighted by Murray's victory, as it increases the chances of him still being the world number one when he arrives in west London in June.

Although the Scot will have to defend his points from reaching the French Open final last year, he has an opportunity to boost his tally further in the ATP 1000 tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami this month. As the holder of both trophies as well as the French Open champion, Djokovic has to win them all again just to maintain his current points total.

Djokovic was unable to get past the quarter-finals of the Mexico Open in Acapulco last week as he lost his first ever encounter with Nick Kyrgios, but those expecting Rafael Nadal to take advantage by winning the tournament after his 6-1, 6-2 semi-final demolition of 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic were in for a shock as Sam Querrey beat him 6-3, 7-6 in the final.

With Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka both suffering early exits in Dubai, the form book clearly favours Murray going into the two big spring tournaments in the US.

It was not just Andy who was adding to the Murray family trophy haul. Brother Jamie and his Brazilian partner Bruno Soares secured their first trophy of 2017 by beating John Isner and Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-3 in the final.

Last month, Jamie Murray confirmed that he will also be appearing in the Aegon Championships.

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